Al Dente Enoteca

About Us

History Of Al Dente

Founded in April of 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic, Andrea Vignali established Al Dente. Originally a weekly pasta delivery service, Vignali founded the business as a means to support himself and other international visa holders during COVID-19 lockdowns. He later joined forces with Davide Bonadiman, as their joint vision came together to take Al Dente to a bricks and mortar location.

Now, Al Dente brings to you an approachable fine dining enoteca, offering a la carte Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner, as well as an optional tasting menu each night. Saturdays, leave the dining experience in our hands, with a specially curated five course tasting menu by chefs Davide & Andrea. A locally focussed wine list with rotating favourites on pour, and humble, good service are what we are known for.

If at-home-dining is still more your style, Al Dente has a well-appointed delicatessen, called Sapori (meaning flavours in Italian), where you can browse shelves of housemade pasta, sauces and preserves, as well as a selection of the team’s favourite pantry staples. Need to cater dinner in a hurry? Or just wanting a little antipasti with a good wine? Come by and let the Al Dente team create your perfect at-home menu!

Al Dente also delivers! Via Melbourne based online platform, Cookaborough, a weekly menu is released each Sunday, with deliveries happening within 25km of AD in Carlton the following Saturday. All Sapori items are available, as well as fresh, seasonal and ALWAYS handmade pasta, lasagne and ragu. Perfect to stock up and enjoy on a rainy day!

All of our pantry items, including our fresh and frozen pasta, are available to buy on Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

All of our products are also available for wholesale.

“We Want To Show That It’s Possible To Mix Local Produce With The Traditions We Grew Up With”

Davide | Al Dente Chef

The People Of
Al Dente

Andrea
Owner/Chef

Andrea

Owner/Chef

Born in Lombardy in northern Italy, Andrea was drawn to restaurants from the age of 12, first during school holidays at his uncle’s tavern in Liguria, then on weekends at a restaurant in his home village of Robbiate. “School wasn’t for me,” he says. “I couldn’t stand still for a second but being in the kitchen showed me I was good at something. Being fast and full of energy was an advantage.”

He shifted to culinary college where his teachers saw great potential, sending him for work experience to top regional kitchens and as far afield as Switzerland. As soon as he graduated, he joined the staff of Michelin-starred Pierino Penati, not far from Milan. Steady promotions over four years saw Andrea attain the role of chef de partie but it was no picnic. “We’d work 13 hours a day, six days a week,” he says. “I loved it and I learnt so much but it was a crazy time.” Next stop was La Tessitura, a 30-seat restaurant closer to his village, where he quickly progressed to his first head chef job aged just 22. He was a local sensation and the TV crews came calling but Andrea’s horizons were broader. “I thought I needed to travel,” he says. “So I got on a plane to Australia.”

Two days after he arrived in Melbourne, the young chef had a job at Grossi Florentino. "It felt like a home away from home and it was great to work with owner-chef Guy Grossi and executive chef Chris Rodriguez," says Andrea. "I learnt more about Italian food there than I did in Italy.” There was also the joy of being immersed in Melbourne’s hospitality world. "I loved Melbourne straight away," says Andrea. "You can talk about wine and food with everyone. When everything is good, this is the best place in the world."

Andrea is passionate about progression, and his results-driven mindset helps to carry Al Dente and the team from strength to strength.

Davide
Owner/Chef

Davida

Owner/Chef

Davide Bonadiman was born to be a chef. His parents ran a restaurant in the heart of Verona, in northern Veneto. His childhood was intertwined with the family restaurant and he fell naturally into a cheffing career. “I always loved cooking because I was in that environment from when I was young,” he says. “It grew into a huge passion for me.” While studying hospitality, Davide worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Verona and won the opportunity to travel to London for work experience in a four-star hotel.

The wide world beckoned and, in 2013, Davide came to Melbourne. He feels fortunate that his first job here was at Mezzo, a lovely restaurant which used to be on Little Bourke Street. He worked under great teachers such as Mirco Speri (now at Buono in Parkdale) and Marcello Mariani (now at Caterina’s). After four years as understudy, Davide took charge of the restaurant for two years, before seeking new adventures at Grossi Florentino.

At Grossi, he cooked alongside Andrea, bonding enthusiastically over a shared love of cooking the food of their home country with beautiful Australian ingredients. The pair have carried that same philosophy forward to Al Dente. “We want to show that it’s possible to mix local produce with the traditions we grew up with,” he says. “With this great combination, we can create something truly unique.”

Davide is involved in every aspect of the business, but he has a special focus on pasta creations and is the mind behind our wine list developed alongside our knowledgeable front of house staff. He has developed a strong passion for wine growing up, one that he shares with his father. Wine research and tasting is now his favourite activity on his days off-work.

He is the quality control maestro alongside Andrea, checking every single dish prepared. His obsession is one of the main reasons we can stand behind the quality of our dishes.

Michelle
Michelle
Operations & Venue Manager

Michelle

Operations & Venue Manager

Every customer who steps in our venue knows Michelle. She is the friendly face welcoming you in our Sapori when you visit for some grocery shopping, and the elegant lady dressed in black guiding you through our seasonal dishes and local wines when you join us for lunch or dinner.

She has worked alongside Davide in building our winelist, researching and tasting wines from all across Victoria and Australia. This is something that allows us to match our dishes to our wines and beverages that are best suited to our flavours.

Her role within Al Dente is an essential one, with her experience in flavour assisting in the development of our menus; the official taste tester! Her detailed explanation of our chef’s creations will leave you mesmerized, and will get your tastebuds going just bore your curated tasting feast begins.

Arianna
Arianna
Reservations & Customer Service Manager

Arianna

Reservations & Customer Service Manager

She’s the intelligent, quick all rounder of our team; the ultimate customer service specialist, and the master behind the scenes of our Cookaborough page. Her coordination guides both the kitchen and our Sapori team through the specials and the logistics of our menu each week.

If you’ve ever phoned Al Dente, she’s the voice on the other line, bubbly, bright and knowledgeable, guiding you through your Al Dente related queries. If you’re planning your next special occasion at Al Dente, Arianna is your go-to; she’s passionate about making your next event a showstopper.

We’re lucky to have created a young family business here at Al Dente, and without Arianna, the family here just wouldn’t be the same!

Sergio
Sous Chef

Sergio

Sous Chef

He’s the friendliest person in the building. No one gets to work without getting a hug, smile or handshake from Sergio.

He’s an excellent chef with great cooking skills and creativity, a great personality and professional presence within our team. He works with passion alongside Davide and Andrea, in creating beautiful dishes for you to enjoy at home and in our restaurant.

He’s been with us since the start of summer last year, and has been an important part of our team since he joined us.

We’ve just been granted sponsorship of this talented young chef, and we’re so glad to be part of his journey here in Australia.

From Al Dente’s humble beginnings, we’ve now got the honor of helping to shape the future of other young immigrants building their lives here.

Our Team

Our recipe for success starts with our team. Add a bit of passion, a lot of talent, and some hard work and you’ll find yourself within our staff.

We are a team of young, passionate hospitality people bringing our knowledge and experience forward each day. We value the little things, the smaller details, and take pride in a positive environment; our very own Al Dente family.

Our chefs work tirelessly preparing every element on each plate of food, and our front of house use their immaculate attention for detail and warm customer service skills each and every day.

We come together to deliver a great experience to every one of our customers; without our guests, Al Dente wouldn’t be the business it is today! Our team are happy to make your morning caffe latte whilst you browse our shelves, or help you create your ideal menu whilst dining in our restaurant. We take pride in our work, and all we can hope is that our passion and creativity translates from our ideas, to a warm feeling for our customers when they walk through our doors.

Our Recognitions In The Industry

Honorable mention in Australia’s Wine list of the Year Awards for Victoria, awarded two glasses

Feature in April 2021 Gourmet Traveller “Restaurant News” for new restaurant opening

Cover photo and ten page spread in August 2021 Gourmet Traveller for pasta recipes in their Italian issue

Good Food Guide 2021 – review